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Scripting News -- It's Even Worse Than It Appears.

About the author

A picture named daveTiny.jpgDave Winer, 56, is a software developer and editor of the Scripting News weblog. He pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in New York City.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

"Dave was in a hurry. He had big ideas." -- Harvard.

"Dave Winer is one of the most important figures in the evolution of online media." -- Nieman Journalism Lab.

10 inventors of Internet technologies you may not have heard of. -- Royal Pingdom.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

8/2/11: Who I Am.

Contact me

scriptingnews1mail at gmail dot com.


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My bike

People are always asking about my bike.

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Here's a picture.


January 2012

Dec   Feb


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FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)

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Dave Winer's weblog, started in April 1997, bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

An anti-SOPA browser plug-in? Permalink.

A picture named hotdog.jpgI'm sure someone is already doing this but just in case...

How about a browser plug-in that subscribed to a public list of sites of people and companies that support SOPA and black them out.

Obviously it would be a voluntary thing to install such a plug-in. I would run it. I'd like to know.

Add to the list all Congress people who vote in favor of SOPA. Esp the pages where you donate money to them or volunteer to work for their campaigns.

While you're at it block pages on commerce sites where their products are for sale. No Internet revenue for companies who back SOPA.

Did the Times apologize for Judith Miller? Permalink.

If the Times were a drug or car company the lies the Times ran in selling the war in Iraq were a serious quality control issue. If their product is accurate information, which theoretically is, they had a huge breach. It's why I have little faith in the NYT, even though I still read it regularly.

A picture named tylenol.gifThe Times did a pretty good coverup, considering how exposed they were, but I think a lot of people noticed anyway. Esp since the war was so incredibly expensive in so many ways.

Who did they use to sell the war? Colin Powell and the NY Times. What was left of each of their credibility in the aftermath? And how much effort did they put into getting it back?

I think that's why there was such a strong reaction to the question asked by the Times ombudsman today. His question was itself a serious error in proportion. The untruths carried in the Times, such crucial ones, were the things they should have been watching for. We elected a defense contractor as a VP. They used the Times to lie our way into a war that made the defense industry huge amounts of money.

Continuing in the football thread. It's as if your opponent bought a fantastic quarterback. You think they might be planning on doing some passing?

Could Bing seriously challenge Google? Permalink.

A picture named joe.jpgKing Kaufman is a sports writer who says he reads Scripting News to learn about football. That's one of the highest compliments someone can pay me, cause I often think in terms of football analogies when it comes to tech.

So here's a football analogy! ...

Google and Microsoft are playing a game of football in a stadium called Search. My guess is that Google doesn't think they're actually playing a game, or if they do, they aren't worried about Microsoft gaining any significant yardage. Kind of like the way Alabama beat LSU earlier this week.

They might be right, but Google is letting one of Microsoft's wide receivers go uncovered. You'd think if Microsoft was smart they'd throw the ball to him and see if perhaps it might turn into a touchdown. :-)

Here's the deal. Google's search is getting cluttered with pointless crap. I think they forgot that when Google launched all the existing search engines were similarly cluttered, and they offered two things. 1. Something really nice called Page Rank and 2. No clutter.

Now I'm pretty sure that Google thinks their magic, whatever that might be, will keep people using Google no matter how much crap they shovel onto the search page. Maybe that was true up to a point, but Google is now over the line. A search engine that did two things would get me to at least seriously try it (and nothing has been able to do that for me since Google rolled out in 1998). Here are the two things.

1. A super-clean bare-bones interface.

2. A bonded promise that it will stay that way forever.

The bonded part is important. I don't think anyone should switch or even think of switching unless the move was irreversible. It has to be that way forever. We could agree to some small amount of advertising on the search results, in the right margin, and clearly labeled. But beyond that, nothing but search results and whitespace.

The bond would have to be something that hurt if they gave it up. A lot of cash put in escrow to be paid to the ACLU or NASA or split among 15 universities. Something like that. A very large amount of money. Otherwise we'd be crazy to give them a chance, they would just bait and switch us.

I wonder if Microsoft has ever done a study to see how many people switched from Windows to Mac because of all the shovelware and malware that was inundating Windows? I bet it was a lot of people. I promise you that's why I switched. I don't think the Mac is any easier to use. Except there are no viruses. My Windows machine was impossible to use because of all the crap.

Google is now in the same place. Enough is enough. Is anyone going to step up and take advantage of their mistake?

Hey you did a good job there! Permalink.

This was an end-of-year piece written on December 30 that got tabled because it was submitted to run in another pub. But they decided not to run it, so here it is.

One of the things I've learned this year is that at least some people feel that acknowledgement from me is worth something. This is a very foreign concept.

Inside my own mind, I am the person seeking acknowledgment.

At some point, somehow I got the idea that the opposite might also be true. So I tried some experiments. Random compliments on Twitter to people who I look up to, who I was looking to for approval. Just to see what would happen.

Hey, they liked it! Amazing. Who would have thought. (But I should have figured this out long ago.)

You might try it too to see if it works. I bet it does.

Almost everyone likes recognition. Hey you did a good job there! Keep it up. It's easy to type and say, and the results will warm your heart.

I once wrote a piece where I said we're all barking farting chihuahua's and our opinions don't matter one bit. It's still true, but it's also true that somewhere, someone will appreciate a kind word, even if you don't believe it. Might be worth a try.

I also wrote a piece once where I suggested that instead of greeting people with Hi How Are You? we said Hello I Forgive You.

Similar idea. Only it's likely to get you a punch in the nose. :-)

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Why we're vulnerable to SOPA Permalink.

A picture named clock.gifDerek Slater, who works on policy at Google in California, has been emailing with me about SOPA. He's been encouraging me to do more, and we've been trying to figure out what that might be.

I know Derek from the time I spent at Harvard, at Berkman Center. Derek was one of our bright-eyed and young student fellows. That was one of the best things about being there in the early part of the last decade. Their idealism was a reminder that the future might not be so cynical. A lot of them went on to careers in tech or academia. Now that we've gone our separate ways, we all have a certain collegiality and understanding and shared goals that the Internet be kept free. Berkman was then a fairly radical place, in a good way, thanks to the inspiration of its founders, Jon Zittrain, Charlie Nesson and John Palfrey.

Derek and I went back and forth, and agreed that the thing that's needed is a tighter connection between the tech and political blogospheres. As I have written here, there shouldn't even be two blogospheres. It should all be one. And we should leverage each others' knowledge and power. But we don't do that. There's a Chinese wall between the two. If a tech blogger writes something political, it's considered off-topic. And the political bloggers never talk about technological issues, even though technology plays a huge role in what they do. It actually enables what they do. Without continued innovation they won't exist. And the problem is that innovation is being channeled entirely through companies, like Derek's employer, and that helps limit the independence of bloggers, imho. And the government, with innovations like SOPA and the recent NDAA, are getting into technology. In other words, it's no longer possible for poliitcal bloggers to be innocent about tech, and it's also true that tech bloggers are inherently political.

I've been saying this since I started blogging in 1994. When people would say I shouldn't write about politics, I knew they were wrong. Everything is political when it comes to exercising ones First Amendment rights. I've believed that tech is about speech, for my entire almost forty year career. If I didn't believe that I never would have gotten involved in tech in the first place. (An aside, NYU is celebrating the East Village Other in an exhibit at the J-school and a conference. What a loop back to the beginning. The EVO was my inspiration for becoming a writer for and publisher of underground news when I was a high school student in the early 70s. That was my first blogging experience, though the equivalent of a website in 1972 was a mimeograph machine.)

Anyway, I said to Derek in a recent email that I've already written the blog post, and like all of my blog posts -- or most of them -- it had zero impact.

I think there are people who are better suited for bringing us together. But unfortunately we live in a time when most people just work for themselves. It's probably why we're so vulnerable to SOPA.

What would be stunning is if the political bloggers could create an issue on their own, without a press release to respond to. Then you'd know we were in revolutionary times.

The tech bloggers are doing much better here, imho. At least some of them. They're studying SOPA, trying to figure out what it implies. Now if the system were working, people like Arianna Huffington, Paul Krugman, Andrew Sullivan, Josh Marshall, Markos Moulitsas -- people who probably feel that tech is not their bailiwick -- would take the data that the tech blogosphere is generating, and used it in the political context. Stop accepting the stories as fed to you by the parties. Publish news that actually is news. (Someone said if it's news there's someone who doesn't want it published. If you find yourself only writing stuff people want you to say you're not in news anymore.)

I think of all the people I listed, Arianna is probably in the best position because she has feet in both the tech and political worlds. And she's widely respected as an intelligent and creative if not unconventional observer. What if TechCrunch became a leader in the effort to prevent SOPA from ruining the net? What if that directly influenced the editorial in Huffpost?

I think we're wrong to pressure on the politicos first. First, we need to drag our brothers and sisters in the political blogosphere into the fight, in an effective way.

© Copyright 1997-2012 Dave Winer. Last build: 1/13/2012; 8:19:00 AM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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